Despite their 1977 album title, "Just Another Band from East L.A.," Los Lobos is far from that. This Rock and Roll quintet has remained relevant for nearly four decades, by weaving a musical tapestry filled with Rock n' Roll, Country, Tex-Mex, Blues, R&B, Folk, Rockabilly, Boleros and Nortenos influences. This eclectic mixture of musical styles has kept this band on the forefront of music's biggest stages, and delighted fans both old and new with each passing album. Simply put, Los Lobos are not "a great Chicano band," as many journalists tend to categorize them; they are a great band, period. Founding members Louie Perez, David Hidalgo, Conrad Lozano, and Cesar Rosas, along with subsequent member Steve Berlin, have continued to elevate music by pushing the bar and bringing music of the past to new fans, all in the same breath. This same line-up has remained intact since 1973, a testament to their dedication to the one thing that keeps them going strong; the music.
With group members hailing from the urban sprawl of East Los Angeles, Los Lobos' early influences were the key to their current sound, as they heard and saw so many different types of music throughout their childhoods. Citing influences like Sam and Dave, Otis Redding, and Aretha Franklin, the neighborhood friends began picking up instruments and aspiring to be rock and roll musicians. After one afternoon spent digging through member Cesar Rosas' mother's record collection, the boys stumbled upon some traditional Mexican music, and immediately tried to play some of the songs for fun. They were frustrated when the songs didn't come as easy to them as the rock and roll tunes they practiced, but this frustration led to a respect for traditional Latin and Mexican music, something that would instantly influence and stick with the band throughout their career.
Rather than wait for a record deal, the ambitious quintet released their first album, "Si Se Puede," on their own in 1976, something that wasn't often done in those days. This is just one of the visionary aspects of this group that they don't get much credit for. With the indie rock movement in the '90's, as well as the "jam band" fever created by groups like The Dave Matthews Band and Phish, most critics and fans seems to forget that Los Lobos was doing this way back in the '70's! The group's debut album began to create a buzz, so they followed it up with 1978's "Los Lobos (Just Another Band from East L.A.), which also did well. They came strong again in 1983 with an EP called "...And a Time to Dance," and by then, the music industry had taken notice. They won a Grammy for Best Mexican-American Performance for the song "Anselma." Warner Bros. officially signed the band and immediately sent them into the studio with now legendary producer T-Bone Burnett, who has worked with the likes of Elvis Costello, Tony Bennett, B.B. King, and Robert Plant. The result was 1984's "How Will the Wolf Survive,?" a critically acclaimed major label effort that made Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time list, and thrust the band into mainstream consciousness. This led to the group's most popular and influential project to date; they began working on the music for the Ritchie Valens biopic, "La Bamba."